Mitsubishi owners have returned home safely after their annual holidays, taking their vehicles on new adventures.
“Now that you are back, let’s look at what you did and how to not only clean your vehicle, but prepare it for the rest of the year’s more average everyday use,” says Francois Rossouw, Mitsubishi Motors South Africa’s ambassador and off-road specialist who added some distance over the holiday period to his already more than 500 000 km behind the wheel of a 4x4.
Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, agrees that a “deep clean” after spending time on and off the road to different – and in many cases more challenging destinations – than you regular commute, requires more than just a quick visit to your local car wash.
“For ongoing maintenance of your Mitsubishi vehicle, especially lifestyle adventure vehicles used to travel to holiday destinations, it is of the utmost importance to clean it properly to ensure the vehicle’s maximum durability far beyond its factory warranty and life expectancy.”
Rossouw, who is driving the latest Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 MIVEC 4x4 Auto, says cleaning a vehicle after every long-distance trip goes much further than just a superficial wash.
“Apart from bugs on the windscreen and all the dust and mud everywhere, dirt gets into places where it might not be easily visible.”
Cleaning the surface:
The easy part is cleaning the surface, which can be handled by a quick visit to your local carwash or even on the lawn at home with a few buckets of soap and water and a rinse with the hosepipe.
“Many people think a shiny car is a clean car, but it goes much further than that. If, for instance, you drove on a normal dry dirt road, dust gets in everywhere, especially on the outer surface of working parts such as the suspension, rubber bushes and the engine, where it clings. Mud is similar, but both can be cleaned off by a good wash with a high-pressure spray,” says the 4x4 guru who has done his fair share of washing cars over the years.
“Rinsing down the vehicle after spending some time in nature, probably driving on a variety of dirt roads, tracks and off-road as well as through mud, water and even grass fields, will definitely not be enough,” he warns.
A deep clean:
Cleaning where the eye cannot see, is sometimes more important than a car that looks clean on the surface.
Rossouw suggests a deep clean, including the following:
- A proper hand wash by professional cleaners, including steam washing.
- Vacuum cleaning the interior. Remove all carpets, seat covers and rubber mats to be washed and dried separately.
- The engine bay should be steam cleaned from the top and bottom of the vehicle.
- All moving components in the engine bay should be lubricated with the proper product recommended by Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. Ask your dealer.
- All painted surfaces, especially parts of the vehicle that go head-on into the wind and dust, should be carefully treated and polished using a recommended car polish to help protect the paint.
- All leather components in the cabin should be treated using an approved leather cleaning product.
- Do not use ordinary household cleaning products.
- Use a good carpet shampoo to refresh the interior carpeting, including removable mats.
- DO NOT spray the dashboard with surface polish – it will only cause it to reflect in the windscreen and might even blind you when driving into the sun low above the horizon.
- Windows need to be cleaned with the correct cleaning products, especially the inside of the windscreen.
- Use a spray that removes unwanted odours. Spray it with the air-conditioner running at full blast.
- After a steam wash, the underside of the vehicle should be treated (greased) at all the moving points of the suspension.
- Rubber bushes should be treated with the proper product.
- All chrome work should be treated and polished with the proper cleaning product and polish.
- Polish the tyres – yet again with a premium product.
Travelling long distances means the vehicle could have collected a variety of hazards not easily visible.
These include natural hazards such as grass seeds that could clog the fine openings between the cooling fins of the radiator, especially after driving in nature.
“So, very importantly – during your trip and after returning home: Please insure, especially after driving in grass fields in the bushveld or on overgrown sand dunes, to remove anything stuck in-between the cooling fins of the radiator. Grass seeds easily get stuck and might cause overheating. Do this on your trip as well as after you got back,” advises Rossouw.
Wheels and tyres:
With tyres being the only contact between your vehicle and the road surface, the rubber on your car is a critical safety feature.
“Check the tyres for any foreign material, including nails or screws, but also thorns or other hazards that could have damaged the thread. Most tyre fitment centres will do a safety check free of charge. Remember the spare wheel!” says the intrepid traveller.
Check the odometer and the owner’s manual to make sure your car does not need its next service at this stage.
“All our Mitsubishi vehicles need to be serviced every 10 000 km or at least once a year,” reminds Campbell. “This will ensure your vehicle remains in top-top condition and gives you the peace of mind and safety Mitsubishi is renowned for.”
If your vehicle is less than 1 000 km from its next service, feel free to make an appointment if its early. “Do not allow it to go further if it has extended the service interval on your holiday travels,” warns Campbell.
Mitsubishi owners can also visit their local or nearest dealer for a safety check.
The service can also be booked on the Mitsubishi Motors website under the heading “Book A Service”.